Senior adviser to President Biden Gene Sperling was repeatedly pressed on rising gas prices and inflation during an interview on “America Reports,” Tuesday, that saw the American Rescue Plan coordinator become increasingly defensive of the administration’s economic policies.
Reading off a dire warning on the “inappropriate” conduct of the Federal Reserve Board from Larry Summers published in The Washington Post, “America Reports” co-host John Roberts asked why nobody surrounding Biden was listening to the former Obama official on inflation.
Sperling insisted he would not be commenting on Summers’ critique of the Fed’s monetary policy, asserting that the administration was not in the business of “berating” or “second-guessing” the board’s independence.
“But Gene, it was a warning to everybody,” Roberts responded. “It was a comment on the Fed, but it was a warning to everybody contained in a broader warning that Sandra knows all too well from Larry Summers— inflation’s on the horizon. It’s going to bite us, we better do something about. And nobody did anything except to say, ‘Oh it’s transitory.”’
The Biden adviser responded that he disagreed with Roberts’ assessment and could quote him 20 or 30 other economic experts who thought inflation was “coming down.” He added Biden has been in lockstep with the “larger number of experts” around the world on gas prices and the price of other goods before co-host Sandra Smith interjected.
“If he has been obsessed with bringing gas prices down, why are we at a brand-new record high today?” Smith asked. “Why are we seeing $4.62 a gallon at the pump if this president’s been obsessed with tackling gas prices and inflation?”
“You know the answer to that — you know this is global,” Sperling responded. “You read the papers today. You know that the euro just said inflation was 8.1%. You read the papers last week that the U.K. was at 9%.”
Smith asked if there was nothing that could be done to bring prices down, to which Sperling asserted he has “explicitly stated the opposite,” reiterating the importance of an independent Federal Reserve.
“But this is serious stuff,” Smith argued. “This is affecting everyday Americans and cutting into their ability to provide food for their families.”
The “America Reports” co-host then asked Sperling to provide a forecast on where the administration could get gas prices by the end of the year.
“This is a serious issue. And what you’re doing right now is trying to put me in the position of being a forecaster,” Sperling said. “And what you asked before was the right question, what are we doing?”
Smith and Roberts continued to press Sperling on when Americans can see relief and what Biden will do to mitigate further price hikes. Sperling restated the importance of giving the Fed the freedom and autonomy to make hard decisions, to which Smith commented that they have gotten it “all wrong.”
Sperling argued he is “not a forecaster” and would not predict when the Detroit Tigers would win the World Series, either.
Smith asked who was forecasting for the president if not him. Sperling replied Biden has a “top class” council of economic advisers.